A hemorrhoid, commonly known as piles, is a painful swelling of a vein in the rectum. After having a baby – especially after a vaginal delivery – many women develop hemorrhoids.

The condition has similarities to varicose veins,  but in this case, the blood vessels that have become unusually swollen show up in the rectal area. Symptoms of a hemorrhoid include pain, rectal itching, bleeding after having a bowel movement, or a swollen area around the anus. Hemorrhoids typically range from the size of a raisin to the size of a grape.

Why do you get piles after delivery?

Pregnancy makes you prone to piles. Your growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava, the large vein on the right side of the body that receives blood from the lower limbs. This pressure can slow down the return of blood from the lower half of your body, which increases the pressure on the veins below your uterus and causes them to become enlarged. In addition, pregnancy brings an increase in the hormone progesterone, which causes the walls of your veins to relax, allowing them to swell more easily. Progesterone also contributes to constipation by slowing down your intestinal tract. Constipation often leads to straining, which can cause or aggravate hemorrhoids.

How to recover from it?

In most of the cases, recovery is natural and it is seen that the bodies heal by itself. However, these tips may help in the healing process:

1. You can use a sitz bath (a basin filled with warm water) or a bath to soak yourself in warm water. A sitz bath is small plastic basin that you fill with water and position over your toilet, allowing you to submerge your rectal area simply by sitting down. This will help the hemorrhoids to shrink.

2. After each bowel movement, gently but thoroughly clean the affected area, using a peri-bottle (the plastic squirt bottle that you could get from the hospital you visit). Instead of using dry toilet tissue, try using wipes pre-moistened with witch hazel (such as Tucks), which is specifically for people with hemorrhoids. Witch hazel helps soothe the hemorrhoids and is best when applied using cotton balls.

3. Apply an ice pack (with a soft covering) to the affected area several times a day. Ice may help decrease the swelling and discomfort.

4. Sit on a pillow or waffle cushion to relieve pressure on the rectum. Sitting in a rocking chair or recliner may also be more comfortable than sitting in a straight chair.

5. Hemorrhoid creams, ointments, suppositories or sprays are available over the counter and can produce short-term relief. Your healthcare provider can recommend a brand that is best for you.

6. Increase dietary fiber and your intake of fluids. This will help to prevent constipation.

7. You may be prescribed a stool softener, and this may take a few days to work. Drinking extra water will also help keep your stools soft.

8. If the pain does not go away within a few days, contact your healthcare provider for further assistance.

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